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'Excited to get started': Michigan unveils full 2020-21 basketball schedule

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

After months and months of murkiness, Michigan basketball fans finally received some clarity.

The Wolverines finalized and released their 25-game schedule on Wednesday, with the season opener only a week away. The 2020-21 slate will include 20 Big Ten games and five nonconference contests.

Eli Brooks and Michigan open their season Nov. 25 against Oakland.

“As I have said, we are in and have been living in unprecedented times," coach Juwan Howard said in a statement. “We are excited to get started next week.”

Michigan will begin the season with a stretch of six consecutive home games, including all five nonconference matchups against Bowling Green (Nov. 25), Oakland (Nov. 29), Ball State (Dec. 2), Central Florida (Dec. 6) and North Carolina State (Dec. 9). 

While much of the nonconference portion was already known, the Big Ten didn’t announced its 20-game schedule until Wednesday. Michigan will tip off conference play on Dec. 13 at Crisler Center against Penn State and will have 12 days off before heading to Nebraska for its first road game a month into the season.

The Wolverines will play six Big Ten opponents just once — hosting Illinois, Iowa and Rutgers and traveling to Nebraska, Ohio State and Purdue. They’ll play the other seven teams in the league twice, once at home and once on the road.

Among the highlights on the schedule, Michigan will play on three holidays — at Nebraska on Christmas, at Maryland on New Year’s Eve and at Wisconsin on Valentine’s Day — and will face Michigan State in the regular-season finale on March 7 in East Lansing. The Wolverines will host the Spartans in Ann Arbor on Feb. 6.

Each Big Ten team will sit idle for two brief stretches out of four possible date ranges “to allow for maximum flexibility in the potential rescheduling of games,” according to a release from the conference.

The Big Ten tournament will be played March 10-14 at the United Center in Chicago. Throughout the season, teams will follow the same medical protocols that were developed by the Big Ten Return to Competition Task Force, including daily antigen testing and enhanced cardiac screening.

There will be no ticket distribution to the public, per Big Ten policy for the 2020-21 season. The only exception is a limited number of tickets that will be made available to family members of student-athletes when the state of Michigan’s statewide stay-in-place order expires.

“It has been a long time since we have taken the floor. However, our first priority is the health and safety for everyone involved in these games — especially the teams traveling to Ann Arbor,” Howard said. “The Big Ten, as well as our administration and the state of Michigan, have continued to make the proper adjustments and improve upon those to help us be able to get these games in.

“We will be ready no matter the situation. It's just a great feel for everyone to have a chance to move forward.”

Michigan's 2020-21 schedule

Nov. 25: vs. Bowling Green, 4 p.m., ESPNU

Nov. 29: vs. Oakland, 6 p.m., BTN

Dec. 2: vs. Ball State, 7 p.m., BTN

Dec. 6: vs. Central Florida, 4 p.m., BTN

Dec. 9: vs. North Carolina State

Dec. 13: vs. Penn State

Dec. 25: at Nebraska

Dec. 31: at Maryland

Jan. 3: vs. Northwestern

Jan. 6: vs. Minnesota

Jan. 9: at Penn State

Jan. 12: vs. Wisconsin

Jan. 16: at Minnesota

Jan. 19: vs. Maryland

Jan. 22: at Purdue

Jan. 30: vs. Indiana

Feb. 3: at Northwestern

Feb. 6: vs. Michigan State

Feb. 11: vs. Illinois

Feb. 14: at Wisconsin

Feb. 18: vs. Rutgers

Feb. 21: at Ohio State

Feb. 27: at Indiana

March 4: vs. Iowa

March 7: at Michigan State

jhawkins@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @jamesbhawkins